Thread: Pump Operators

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    Default Pump Operators

    Our dept has a problem the valves on the pumps. Some are very hard to open, and I know it's from lack of use. The sad thing is that the older engine valves open/close easier the the newer ones. The weekly checks don't always get done to exercise ALL the valves, so we are stuck with this problem until we are ready to change.

    We were taught to add dish soap to the tank and recirculate the tank for a while, then exercise the valves and drains. After a few times of opening/closing them, it loosens up. But doesn't always help. I am wondering if there are any other suggestions that we should do to help. Will the soap eventually do any harm to the valves?

    Will opening/closing the valve while not running eventually score the valves because of any dirt or debris that may be in the pump from sediments in the water? I know we need to exercise the valves more, but what else can we do to fix this problem.

    Thank You for your help

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    Can you be specific with the type and brand of valves, brass or poly too... also if it is piston intake, some are not as good at not cooroding and being hard to open as others.

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    Every week you add soap to the tank and recirculate it testing the pump?

    Not the brightest bunch of budgies then eh?

    How much slop and garbage has that built up in the tank?

    How often do you empty, flush and refill the nasty goop from the tank?

    Or do you just let the gobbing great festering muck sit there?

    Where in the pump suppliers manual did it suggest that this was a very good idea to meat their warranty?

    I might not be from GobSmacked USA, but this needs an answer in case I iz realy missisiping sometink.

    Soap is acidic by nature. Oops, da cat got out of da bag, bugger.
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    Just to add to what Kiwi had to say, the soap in the water isn't something you want to do based on the design of the valves. Those valves are designed to hold back water. When you add the soap or other similar stuff, you now have broken down the surface tension of the water, allowing it to leak around the valves, packing, etc.

    Your best solution is to get more dedicated to your weekly checks and exercising the valves. That includes the relief valve, which can get gunk, rust, or what have you in it and cause it not to work properly.

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    Cool

    ok with regards to the soap... in the past dish soap has been used on fittings, caps, and couplings. I see no problem using it in this way as a matter of fact, from time to time i put it on our steamer caps and other caps and fittings that don't get used regularly.

    BUT, in no circurmstance would I put it in the tank!

    when you exercise the valves, don't do it without water moving if they are poly vavles or the newer brass (which is softer) you could hurt them if there is grit or scum around them.


    The only way to fix this problem is to actually use it.... Your relief valve on your discharge side is prolly not in very good working condition... just somthing to check on.

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    I believe that the valves are poly, not 100%, but will look into it. The engine that I know we are having problems with is only 2 years old. One of our other engines is about 15 years old and the valves are in pretty good shape.

    On our monthly check we add the soap to the tank, let it circulate for a few minutes. Then each valve gets opened/closed about 5-6 times. This usually makes the valves much, much easier to operate. We do the same for the bleeders, with the valve open and the bale closed on the nozzle. Then hook to a hydrant and fill the tank and flush it.

    We are not to just add the soap to the tank and leave it there. After it gets circulated, all the valves and bleeders are to be exercised off tank water. Refill the tank off a hydrant and finish the rest of that valves/bleeders.

    This way has been helpful for many of the valves that were very difficult to open/close. So my question is; is it better to exercise while hooked to the hydrant and forget about the soap? If so, what do you guys recommend that we do to get the valves that are difficult to operate back to a satisfactory condition? I remember when we would try to just exercise with water only, and the problem never got corrected.

    Thanx Again

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    Last edited by 5alarmcooker; 03-17-2008 at 07:20 PM.

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    I've been adding tank saver that has lubricants in it to keep the pump and valve seals in good working order. Helps the valve seats, and is good at keeping things from drying out in one of our engines that has to have the pump drained dry in cold weather.

    If you don't see a lot of use, then exercise all intake, discharge, relief, and transfer valves ( anything that moves ) once a month. In time the occasional tank saver coupled with monthly exercise of everything that moves has freed up a lot of valves and drains that didn't get used much.

    Many of the pump service people I talk to are starting to recommend tank saver. And none of them sell it, they just say it works.

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    I stole this off of the Waterous web site...

    http://www.waterousco.com/service/ti...alveMaint.html

    Extend the Life of Your Pump with
    Tips from the Pros.

    Discharge Valve Maintenance
    Fire trucks today are built with many complex systems. Those systems all require some general maintenance to keep the front line truck ready. One of those components at the heart of the truck is the fire pump. The fire pump is no exception when it comes to some basic maintenance.

    How many of you have pulled on a valve and found it difficult to open or close? Was it one of those valves on your truck that you just don’t use all that often?

    Now that you manage to get it to open, then closed again, it leaks right? Maybe it’s a valve you use all the time and you’ve noticed when the pump is in gear, and that valve is closed, you have a pressure reading on the gauge. It’s likely that valve is leaking and pressure is building up behind the cap.

    Whether you flow large amounts of water from a city hydrant system, or drafting out of a lake, pond, or dry hydrant, the water may contain dirt, sediment, and other debris. This debris is not just flowing through the impellers and valves we have open, it is also reaching the piping and areas of the pump that you are not currently using. Over time, this debris starts to build up and settle in our valves, making them difficult to open and subject to damage due in part to sand and other abrasives scoring the ball and seal surfaces.

    What we need to do is some basic maintenance to these valves. Remember most things tend to fail due to lack of use, not too much use. The procedure explained below will take about (10) ten minutes after a pumping drill and should be done about once per month.

    Before performing this procedure, be sure your truck is not in “pump” mode.

    Open the Tank to Pump Valve. This will allow tank water head pressure into the pump allowing us to open our discharge valves without the need to disconnect our hoses.

    With tank head pressure inside the pump, open each individual discharge valve drain. Initially you may see dirty or off-color water drain out. When the water begins to run clear, operate the discharge valve to the full open and full closed positions several times. This will “lubricate” the valve with fresh clean water and will help to keep your valve opening and closing smoothly.

    Although we have been talking discharge valves, the one valve that seems to be forgotten is the master pump drain valve. This valve is located at the lowest point in the pump house and is where most of the dirt and debris settles. Now is a good time to open this valve and let the water run clean as well. Once clean water is draining, exercise this valve a few times as well. This will lubricate the sealing rings inside the valve and lessen the chance that you will need to put your feet on the diamond plate to open it.

    Now that all discharge valves have been drained, exercised, and the master drain has been opened and exercised, continue to perform other pump tests as needed. Close the Tank to Pump Valve and put the truck back in service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golzy12 View Post
    I stole this off of the Waterous web site...

    http://www.waterousco.com/service/ti...alveMaint.html

    Extend the Life of Your Pump with
    Tips from the Pros.

    Discharge Valve Maintenance
    Fire trucks today are built with many complex systems. Those systems all require some general maintenance to keep the front line truck ready. One of those components at the heart of the truck is the fire pump. The fire pump is no exception when it comes to some basic maintenance.

    How many of you have pulled on a valve and found it difficult to open or close? Was it one of those valves on your truck that you just don’t use all that often?

    Now that you manage to get it to open, then closed again, it leaks right? Maybe it’s a valve you use all the time and you’ve noticed when the pump is in gear, and that valve is closed, you have a pressure reading on the gauge. It’s likely that valve is leaking and pressure is building up behind the cap.

    Whether you flow large amounts of water from a city hydrant system, or drafting out of a lake, pond, or dry hydrant, the water may contain dirt, sediment, and other debris. This debris is not just flowing through the impellers and valves we have open, it is also reaching the piping and areas of the pump that you are not currently using. Over time, this debris starts to build up and settle in our valves, making them difficult to open and subject to damage due in part to sand and other abrasives scoring the ball and seal surfaces.

    What we need to do is some basic maintenance to these valves. Remember most things tend to fail due to lack of use, not too much use. The procedure explained below will take about (10) ten minutes after a pumping drill and should be done about once per month.

    Before performing this procedure, be sure your truck is not in “pump” mode.

    Open the Tank to Pump Valve. This will allow tank water head pressure into the pump allowing us to open our discharge valves without the need to disconnect our hoses.

    With tank head pressure inside the pump, open each individual discharge valve drain. Initially you may see dirty or off-color water drain out. When the water begins to run clear, operate the discharge valve to the full open and full closed positions several times. This will “lubricate” the valve with fresh clean water and will help to keep your valve opening and closing smoothly.

    Although we have been talking discharge valves, the one valve that seems to be forgotten is the master pump drain valve. This valve is located at the lowest point in the pump house and is where most of the dirt and debris settles. Now is a good time to open this valve and let the water run clean as well. Once clean water is draining, exercise this valve a few times as well. This will lubricate the sealing rings inside the valve and lessen the chance that you will need to put your feet on the diamond plate to open it.

    Now that all discharge valves have been drained, exercised, and the master drain has been opened and exercised, continue to perform other pump tests as needed. Close the Tank to Pump Valve and put the truck back in service.
    Very helpful. I took a look at that and that should be the info that I need and proof to the guys that this what we need to do.

    Thanx

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    Also remember that any discharge valve 3" and larger (on newer apparatus) are equipped with a slo-close mechanism which makes the valves bear to open and close sometimes
    "Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself."

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainS View Post
    Also remember that any discharge valve 3" and larger (on newer apparatus) are equipped with a slo-close mechanism which makes the valves bear to open and close sometimes
    Not if they are air or electric powered!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Just a thought, but stickly valves might be caused by not flushing out correctly after running foam through the system. We had that problem a few times at my old station - also due to low useage. The "Truck Book" says to flush your foam system for min 10 min after each useage.

    Profire advised us to flush the system for several minutes at least once per month to clear up any foam residue, and I suspect that should be the same if you push soap through. Although I am not really sure why you would run soap through it. Something new to learn, I guess.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Not if they are air or electric powered!
    There must be a little more money in Eastern Mass than I thought
    "Never share a foxhole with anyone braver than yourself."

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Profire advised us to flush the system for several minutes at least once per month to clear up any foam residue, and I suspect that should be the same if you push soap through. Although I am not really sure why you would run soap through it. Something new to learn, I guess.
    Hey Malahat, getting along with "Profire" huh?!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire0099881 View Post
    Hey Malahat, getting along with "Profire" huh?!!!
    Personally I haven't seen any of the boys from Profire in about 2 yrs, but their number is still on speed dial with my old Canadian cell phone. The guys bought a new F550 crew cab rescue truck about a year or so ago. Nice looking rig from what photos I've seen. They are posted in here somewhere, in one thread or another.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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